Yesterday Effie died. She was a 13-year-old black Labrador Retriever who was the boon companion of Kish’s mother. Faith has had Effie since she was a puppy, and she loved that dog as truly and absolutely as any living being can love another. As you would expect, Faith is devastated by her loss.
Since the dawn of human history, people and dogs have formed close bonds. In such cases, the dogs become a part of the family in every sense of the word. They provide company, and attention, and humorous moments, and a kind of adoration. In return, you feed them, walk them, pick up their droppings, and care for them to the point of paying hundreds and even thousands of dollars for medical treatment without a second thought. But a dog’s life is all-too-short — 13 is ripe old age for a Lab — and inevitably the human members of the family must deal with decline and death of the beloved pet. The death always leaves an ache that people who don’t have pets perhaps can’t fully appreciate, but that fellow dog lovers know all too well.
Effie ate from the table, was too fat, and had an annoying whimper. Her black fur was a constant presence on the chairs and carpets in her house. But those were small things, really, compared to the good company, happiness, and devotion that she provided. Her very presence made a widow’s life more purposeful and less lonely. My guess is that Effie would consider her life to have been a fulfilling one.
Effie is buried in a spot that Faith picked out in advance, next to her predecessor pets, on the edge of a field where she will hear the breeze ruffling the leaves of the cornstalks.